Vegan Peanut Ginger Cauliflower Veggie Burgers

Vegan Peanut Ginger Cauliflower Veggie Burgers

Homemade veggie burgers can be hit or miss. This recipe for vegan peanut ginger cauliflower veggie burgers are a hit! Made with a combination of quinoa, oats, chickpeas and rice cauliflower seasoned with ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter and fresh herbs. Enjoy over a salad on in a bun with an easy sriracha mayo!

Read More

Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut cherry muesli is super easy and budget friendly to make! Made with oats tossed with dried cherries, shredded coconut, almonds, and cashews with oats. Enjoy it by itself with milk, or mixed with yogurt and topped with berries and honey for easy overnight oats. Packed with fiber for a filling breakfast!

Read More

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola

This dark chocolate, coconut and almond granola is the BEST granola for snacking! Or, enjoy it with milk or yogurt for a satisfying breakfast. Made with mashed bananas and maple syrup, it’s lower in sugar but still plenty sweet. With chunks of dark chocolate, roughly chopped almonds, quinoa and big clusters, it’s got tons of crunch too!

Read More

Browned Butter Pear and Dark Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

Browned Butter Pear and Dark Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

My favorite cake was the inspiration behind this recipe for browned butter pear and dark chocolate baked oatmeal. My banana and berry baked oatmeal is a regular in our house, so I decided to switch it up with this more fall-appropriate version. I love to make this dish to use up pears that are a little past their prime. Perfect for a make ahead breakfast!

Read More

Matcha Coconut Toasted Oat Bran Bowl

Matcha Coconut Toasted Oat Bran Bowl

If you like oatmeal, you'll LOVE oat bran! It's super creamy and cooks in just a couple minutes. Try it in this matcha coconut toasted oat bran bowl, which uses antioxidant rich matcha powder to add a beautiful green color and yummy flavor. Top with tons of fresh fruit and coconut. Make a big batch in advance and reheat all week. 

Read More

Coconut Ginger Date Oatmeal

Coconut Ginger Date Oatmeal

This creamy coconut ginger date oatmeal is made extra delish with coconut milk, making a dairy free and vegan breakfast that's packed with whole grains! Sweetened with an easy date syrup so it's no added sugar! With all the whole grains and healthy fats, it makes a satisfying breakfast that's perfect for cold weather months! 

Read More

Cranberry Apple High Protein Oatmeal

Cranberry Apple High Protein Oatmeal

Start your Thanksgiving holiday with a bowl of this cranberry apple high protein oatmeal! It's got some staying power, with extra protein from eggs, but won't weigh you down, so you'll have plenty of appetite for turkey! Plus, the toppings are all ingredients you'll have on hand on Thanksgiving! 

Read More

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Bars

Packed with fiber and lightly sweetened, these vegan peanut butter and strawberry jam bars are perfect for snacking or dessert! 

Vegan Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Bars

Hey guys! It's Recipe Redux time so you get a bonus recipe this week! Lucky you ;) And me because it gave me an excuse to try these peanut butter and strawberry jam bars I saw on my friend Alex's blog.

For this month's theme we're choosing a fellow recipe reduxer to celebrate by making a recipe from their blog.

One of the happiest surprises about starting a blog was just how many real friendships I've made through it. And Alex is one of those people! We "met" after following each others blogs for awhile, I emailed her for advice when I first started my private practice. Actually, I had also emailed Anne too, which makes me laugh because now because the two dietitians I looked up to professionally are my coworkers! Then I feel like a jerk cause I never seem to have enough time to write back all the young RDs and students who send me emails.

PB and J Bars

After emailing on occasion for about a year, we finally got to meet in real life on the California Almonds trip to Lodi, California. We actually came up with the idea for Joyful Eating on our first night over dinner and wine! Crazy to think that it's come to fruition!

I hope you check out Alex's blog, Delish Knowledge. She features the most beautifully photographed simple vegetarian recipes. This peanut butter and strawberry jam bar was a recent addition I just had to try. It's part breakfast bar, part cookie, which means you could enjoy it for breakfast or dessert!

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Bars

Makes 12

Adapted from Delish Knowledge

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 cup oats

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 2/3 cup all-fruit strawberry jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with olive oil.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in vanilla extract, then flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Stream in almond milk and blend until combined.

  3. Place jam in a microwave safe bowl and heat 30 seconds until warm.

  4. Spread 3/4 of the peanut butter oat mixture over the bottom of the prepared baking sheet and press down with the back of a spatula. Pour the jam over the top and spread evenly with the jam.

  5. Dollop scoops of the peanut butter dough over the jam to make a "crumble" topping. Place in the over and bake 18-20 minutes until set. Remove from heat, let cool, then slice into bars.

Savory Oatmeal with Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula and Fried Egg

Hopping on the savory oatmeal trend with this bowl of oats topped with sauteed mushrooms, arugula and a fried egg! 

While talking breakfast with one of my clients a few months back, she mentioned that she ate her oatmeal with a pat of butter and a drizzle of sriracha. Lightbulbs went off and I suddenly realized savory oatmeal was the one thing that was missing from my life.

I adore oats for breakfast, hence the multiple incarnations on this blog. It's filling, tasty and nutritious. But in the morning, I tend to gravitate towards savory over sweet.

Apparently my client is a trendsetter because all of a sudden, my inbox was inundated with recipes for savory oatmeal! And now I'm hopping on the savory oatmeal bandwagon with this version topped with sautéed mushrooms, olive oil drizzled oatmeal and fried egg!

Consider this a canvas for all your savory desires! Try these other savory oatmeal toppings:

ASIAN // Scallions + soy sauce + sriracha + egg fried in sesame oil + sesame seeds

SIMPLE // Sharp cheddar + olive oil + sea salt and cracked black pepper + toasted almonds

GREEN // Sliced avocado + sauteed kale or spinach + olive oil + lemon juice + salt and freshly cracked black pepper + chia seeds

CARNIVOROUS // Spicy chicken sausage + peppers + onions

FALL // Sauteed mushrooms + caramelized onions + goat cheese

SPRING // Roasted asparagus + oven roasted tomatoes + poached egg + dill


Savory Oatmeal with Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula and Fried Egg

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers

Toppings:

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Arugula
  • Eggs
  • Nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • Flaky salt (or truffle salt) and cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Bring water and almond milk to a boil on medium-high heat in a medium pot. Stir in oats and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until oats are tender and oatmeal is thickened. Season with a pinch of salt and stir in bell peppers.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt and black pepper and saute until liquids are released and absorbed, about 8 minutes total. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat a little more olive oil in a skillet and fry eggs as desired.
  4. Divide oatmeal between bowls. Top with a sprinkle of nutrition yeast, sauteed mushrooms, fried egg, a handful of arugula. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

For those who aren't quite ready to hop on the savory oatmeal bandwagon:

Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal
Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Dark Chocolate and Almonds

Savory Curry Coconut Granola with Chile Spiced Mango

Switch up your granola game with this savory curry coconut granola with chile spiced dried mango!

Happy Friday! As you're reading this, Scott and I are either in Atlanta or in transit for the wedding of two of our dearest friends. The bride is one of my best friends from college and the groom is one of Scott's best friends from middle school. They actually first met at our housewarming party and then more officially at our wedding. I'd share the full story, but it's much too embarrassing (for my brother, of all people, not them). Also I've told it about 3,347 times in real life because I've realized I'm one of those people who tells the same story over and over again, the result of an autosomal dominant gene on my paternal side.

Being on a road trip, you know we'll have plenty of travel snacks. I'm probably driving with fellow dietitian and one of my other best friends from college, Barb (of homemade yogurt fame). We've had many a road trip in our almost 15 years of friendship, but gone are the days of stopping at McDonalds. Now we do things like pack baggies of sprouted lentils, go to the drive thru for hot tea and lattes, and drive 30 minutes out of the way for artisan chocolate drinks. 

We are so old.

Granola is another one of my favorite travel snacks. It's filling, portable and tasty! But for snacks, I tend to prefer savory over sweet. I've had this idea for savory granola ever since last years trip with California Almonds. One of our activities was a snack contest featuring almonds and my group came up with a savory curry and chili spiced granola bar. While I think our bar tasted the best (purely speculative as I did not taste any of the other entries), it lost on based on the fact that we couldn't get it to stick together in bar form. Sigh...unrecognized genius.

Feel free to use any mix of nuts and grains you like. I really like using uncooked quinoa in granola for extra crunch. I had half a bag of puffed millet on hand leftover from making these marshmallow free crispy treats, but you could also use puffed brown rice or quinoa flakes. Or just keep it simple with all oats.

Don't make the same mistake I always make and add the dried fruit before baking. It makes it chewy and gives it a little bit of a burnt flavor. Stir it in after baking and cooling. You can find chili spiced mango, which is an addictive blend of sweet and spicy, at Trader Joes, or order it online. If you can find it, swap plain dried mango, dried pineapple or apricots and maybe add a teaspoon of chili powder with the curry.

Savory Curry Coconut Granola with Chile Mango

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chili spiced dried mango, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, puffed millet, nuts and seeds, and coconut. In another bowl, whisk together honey, coconut oil, curry powder and salt. Pour wet mixture over granola and stir to combine.
  3. Pour granola mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake 40 minutes, stirring lightly halfway. Remove from oven, set aside to cool then store covered at room temperature.

More snack mixes for road trips:

Easy Asian Snack Mix
Easy Asian Snack Mix
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola
PB&J Granola
PB&J Granola

Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Alternate title: Life Changing Muffins.

This is no exaggeration friends. These bad boys are made with a combination of whole grains and almond meal and naturally sweetened with only dates, banana and shredded carrots. Although they're not cakey like store bought muffins, they're hearty and dense - a stick to your rib type of muffin.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, and since then, I've adapted it many more times. Just keep the basic dry and wet mixtures the same, then swap in different shredded fruit, vegetables and nuts. You could also swap apple sauce for mashed banana if you like, but add a few extra dates to compensate for the sweetness. Although these muffins are gluten free, you could also make them gluten full by swapping whole wheat flour or spelt flour.


Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Makes 12

To make these vegan, use plant yogurt and swap 3 tablespoons ground chia seed mixed with 9 tablespoons water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 roughly chopped carrots, about 1 cup
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and blend until they form a flour. Pour out into a large bowl. Add almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapicoa starch, baking powder, baking soda, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Place carrots in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to dry mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add dates to the flood processor and blend until roughly chopped. Add bananas, eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, and ginger and blend until pureed. Stir wet ingredients into dry until fully combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the wells of a lined 12 cup muffin tin. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Store covered at room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator after a couple days.

Oats with Lemon Zest and Gingery Blueberry Sauce

Oats with lemon zest and gingery blueberry sauce makes an easy, nourishing breakfast with a unique flavor combination to start your day. 

Happy Monday! Hope you’re enjoying the start to a fabulous week! I’m really looking forward to settling in after all our recent travels. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know we’ve spent the past week and a half in Hawaii. My sister-in-law got Maui’ed on Maui (sorry…), so Scott and I used it as an excuse to go island hopping. Scott had never been and although I had visited a few islands in high school with family, I was itching to go back. If you know us, then you know there was very little relaxing on the beach - drives me nuts! Instead, we spent our time hiking, exploring and, of course, eating! I’ll be sharing a recap of our time on the island and a look at all the delicious things we ate, but until then, just know I am seriously considering changing my blog to “An Ahi Poke A Day!”

As much as I love to travel, lately I’ve kinda worn myself thin with it. Of course, as I’m typing this, my husband is next to me trying to convince me that we need to go to Miami for New Years to watch our Clemson Tigers in the playoffs. Ha! Still, I'm looking forward to spending the next few months mostly at home.

The flexibility of owning a business and being able to take off whenever you want is nice, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The past few months, I feel like I’ve constantly been working late to either work ahead for vacations or catch up from vacation. I can't complain...but I'm gonna go ahead and complain. I'm tired and need to drop some things off my plate.

One of the ways I'm simplifying is in the kitchen. I love food and I love to cook, so it's easy to get wrapped up in making something delicious, and then get stressed halfway through cooking because I'm hungry and I still have a million things to do. While I still want to share things that are exciting and fun on the blog, there will definitely be a theme of simplicity. And lots of batch cooking friendly dishes!

This recipe for oats definitely fits in that category. I know it's pretty similar to my recipe for coconut oats with blueberry chia jam, but it's just different up to earn a post of it's own. I think you're going to love the unique flavor combination of lemon zest, blueberries and ginger. You can batch cook oatmeal, keep it in the fridge and just add a little extra milk to thin it before reheating. The blueberry ginger sauce is also batch cooking friendly, and incredibly easy to make. I use a bag of frozen wild blueberries, bring it to a quick simmer then add ginger and chia seeds to thicken. You might want to make twice as much as you'll need - extras are so yummy over plain yogurt and I bet you could even turn it into a savory glaze for roasted chicken!

Oats with Lemon Zest and Gingery Blueberry Sauce

Serves:4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • For serving: toasted cashews, plain greek yogurt and blueberry ginger sauce

Blueberry Ginger Sauce: 

  • 12 ounce bag frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2-3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Instructions

  1. First, make blueberry sauce. Combine frozen berries, honey, and ginger in a small pot on medium heat. Cook until liquid has released and blueberries are no longer frozen, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in chia seeds and set aside until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Next, make the oatmeal. Bring water and almond milk to a boil in a medium pot. Pour in oats and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer until oats are tender, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Serve oats topped with blueberry sauce, cashews, and yogurt.

More oatmeal recipes:

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Almonds and Dark Chocolate
Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Almonds and Dark Chocolate
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

Good Mood Food: Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal With Almonds and Dark Chocolate

Start your day on the right side of the bed with a bowl of coconut steel cut oatmeal with almonds and dark chocolate. Packed with healthy, mood boosting carbohydrates, this meal is the start to a great day! 

When I was in high school, the Atkins diet was all the rage. My friends did it. My parents did it. And because I was under their roof, I did it. Or, at least dinner was low carb. The rest of my diet consisted of frappucinos, chocolate chip cookies from the school cafeteria and turkey sandwiches on white bread. Still, the low carb mentality was firmly engrained in my mind and I thought all these foods were "bad." Not because they were packed with sugar, heavily processed or unhumane, but because they were high in carbs.

The anti-carb mindset might still be in the back of my mind if it wasn't for one day at the mall with a friend of mine. She was in the initial phase of Atkins when you're supposed to eat less than 20 grams of carbs in a day. FYI, the minimum amount of carbs recommended per day is 100-150 grams and the RDA comes out to between 225-325 for someone eating 2,000 calories/day. So yeah, not a whole lot.

After making plans to go shopping, she asked me to pick her up because she felt so horrible she didn't feel comfortable driving. She was so exhausted, we had to stop between each store to sit. When we stopped for lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant (in hindsight, that kind of evil and selfish. I swear this was my friend) she could only order plain chicken with a garlic sauce on the side. She almost cried at the lack of options. My friend was and still is outgoing and hilarious, one of the biggest personalities I've ever met. To give you an idea, the last time we hung out, she convinced our James Franco look-alike server she was a 47-year-old pediatric neurosurgeon and that I once dated Sisqo. Like I said, big personality. On Atkins, she was a shell of her usual self - depressed, quiet, lethargic and generally unwell.

At the end of the day, I came home with some cute new clothes and an unshakeable belief that carbs are a need.

When it comes to brain health, carbohydrate containing foods probably have the biggest impact. As my friend's example clearly demonstrates, your brain needs carbs. Glucose, the breakdown product of carbs, is usually the only source of fuel the brain can use. The wrong type of carbs however, is one of the least healthy foods for the brain. Too many added sugars and refined grains cause chronic inflammation in the brain, affect stress hormones, and cause fluctuations in blood sugar that affect mood and energy levels. High blood sugar levels, even if not at diabetic levels, can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the brain which contributes to depression, anxiety and even dementia.

When it comes to carbs and brain health, quality trumps quantity in terms of importance. The highest quality carbs boost serotonin (aka happy hormone) levels without causing them to crash. Quality carbs are a source of sustainable energy. Anyone who has had a rough night of sleep or forgot their morning cup of coffee knows how low energy can affect mood.

The highest quality carbs? Fresh fruit, beans and lentils, vegetables (including starchy veg), and intact grains.

Oats are one of my favorite grains. I love a fiber and carbohydrate rich breakfast to energize my day. Compared to other grains, oats are an especially rich source of beta-glucan, a special type of fiber that helps lower cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy. Oats also contain lignans and phenols, two phytochemicals with heart healthy benefits.

I always appreciate the ease and portability of overnight oats. Plus, they're a great make-ahead breakfast, because we know every minute of sleep is precious! Steel cut oats are fantastic, although convenient they are not. Who has 30 spare minutes in the morning? Not I! When I found quick cook steel cut oats at Trader Joe's, I knew I hit the jackpot. Soak these overnight in coconut milk (or the milk of your choice) and they'll "cook" in the fridge. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, feel free to sub regular rolled oats.

Coconut Steel Cut Oats With Almonds and Dark Chocolate

Serves 4

I used coconut milk from the carton, not canned. But if you want a richer coconut flavor, swap some of the cartoned coconut milk for canned. To make it more chocolatey and sneak in extra antioxidants, stir in a couple tablespoons of dark cocoa powder.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick cook steel cut oats or rolled oats
  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • Honey or pure maple syrup for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large lidded container, mix oats, coconut milk and sea salt. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, warm the oats on the stove or in the microwave for a minute or two, or enjoy cold. Top with coconut, almonds and dark chocolate. Drizzle with a teaspoon of honey to sweeten.

Start your day with these oatmeal recipes: 

Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Granola with Almonds and Coconut
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Granola with Almonds and Coconut
Vegan Multigrain Breakfast Bake with Blueberries
Vegan Multigrain Breakfast Bake with Blueberries
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears

Endlessly Adaptable Energy Bars

Packed with healthy fats and whole grains, these endlessly adaptable energy bars make a filling grab and go snack or light breakfast! Sweetened with just a hint of maple syrup. 

When have you ever felt truly satiated or nourished from an energy bar? Back when I was in college, I lived off cookie dough flavored Slim Fast bars for breakfast. At the time, I thought of it as a 'healthy' way to have cookie dough for breakfast. My diet food-philic taste buds actually believed they tasted like real cookie dough. They do not. If only I paid attention to how they made my body feel...and how hungry I was before my second class!

I get the convenience of energy bars, I really do. There are even a few brands that taste good and are pretty satisfying - because I know you'll ask, I like Lara BarsKIND bars and Health Warrior Chia Bars.

Mostly, I make my own. It's cheaper, you have control over the ingredients, and it tastes a whole lot better. And you know what? Homemade bars are actually filling! Like, I could eat one of these for breakfast and okay, I would be hungry for a snack by 10 am, but I'm always hungry for a snack then.

As with most of my cooking, I take a 'throw in a bunch of crap I have laying around and hope it comes out' approach. This recipe is endlessly adaptable based on whatever staples you have on hand. It's a great way to use up extra grains, dried fruit and nuts you have on hand.

Endlessly Adaptable Energy Bars

Makes 12

For the pictured recipe, I used quinoa, a mixture of sunflower seeds, walnuts and pecans, honey, and dried plums.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats, old fashioned oats or quick cook steel cut oats (the latter will yield a crunchier, but slightly harder to cut bar)
  • 1 cup quinoa, millet, oats, teff or amaranth
  • 1 cup chopped nuts of choice, or a mixture
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsweetened dried fruit
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, olive oil, peanut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place oats, grains, and nuts in a large skillet on medium heat. Cook, stirring every so often, until they smell toasty. Remove from heat and carefully pour into a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, combine honey/syrup, nut butter, oil, vanilla extract and salt in a small pot on medium heat. Cook, stirring to whisk, until melted and well combined. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Line a rectangle baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper so that some is coming out from the edges. This makes it easier to remove the bars after cooking. Pour the oat mixture in to the baking dish and press down to even out the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until browned around the edges. Remove and set aside to cool.
  5. Once at room temperature, place it in the fridge to chill, which makes it easier to cut. Once cold, cut into bars and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

More energy bars: 

Almond Trail Mix Cookies
Almond Trail Mix Cookies
Chocolate Hazelnut Chia Bars
Chocolate Hazelnut Chia Bars
Quinoa Tahini Bar
Quinoa Tahini Bar

Almond Trail Cookies

Gluten free and vegan, these lightly sweetened, whole grain almond trail mix cookies are the perfect snack to fuel your hike.

I was asked to participate in the “#CrunchOn ” campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time and also received free samples for recipe testing.

To me, food is one of the most important parts of travel. Before we take a trip, even a quick weekend jaunt within the South, I'll spend hours online, learning local specialties, researching the best restaurants and figuring out how to work in as many tasty yums as possible. There are few things in life that make me more sad than a subpar meal while on vacation.

Scott and I love camping, but that type of vacation doesn't exactly lend itself to good eats. We've taken a few camping trips in the last couple years, and in each case, crappy food was pretty unavoidable. Even if a can of beanie weenies was the panacea of health, you still wouldn't catch me eating it. I have no problem not showering or peeing in the woods, but eating rehydrated food for dinner? NOPE.

When we decided to camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains for my birthday, I planned ahead to ensure the weekend was filled with deliciousness. I prepared a gourmet meal of potatoes, grilled vegetables and halloumi cheese with smoked paprika, cooked over an open fire. We packed a nice bottle of wine, which I think we were judged for by the, um, mountain folk at the campsite next to us. The second night, we drove into Asheville for dinner at my favorite brewery and birthday cake from my favorite chocolatier (Asheville has all my favorites!). And lastly, I made sure to pack plenty of tasty snacks to fuel our hikes - olive oil popcorn from Trader Joes, honeycrisp apples, wasabi peas and these trail cookies, stuffed with all sorts of almond goodness.

Y'all, these are kind of the perfect trail food. I get pretty hungry when I'm hiking, which isn't that different from my usual state of being, but of course when hiking, there's no refrigerator nearby. Portable, compact, full of healthy fats, protein and a boost of energy from honey, these were perfect for munching on while we stopped to rest our legs. Sure, we could have just packed an energy bar, but I mean, cookies.

These cookies incorporate almonds in four different ways:

WHOLE ALMONDS // For satiating crunch!

ALMOND MEAL // My favorite gluten free flour for baking, it adds a nice crumbly texture and nutty flavor.

ALMOND BUTTER // Used instead of butter and other added fats.

ALMOND MILK // Mix 3 tablespoons almond milk with 1 tablespoon chia seeds to make a vegan egg for baking.

Besides the obvious fact that they taste amazing, there's a lot to love about almonds:

  • Almonds are a rich source of monounsaturated fat, the type found in extra-virgin olive oil and avocados, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
  • With 1/4 cup providing 40% your daily needs of vitamin E, almonds are the best nut source of the fat soluble vitamin. The antioxidant vitamin helps protect against heart disease and protects fats in the brain against oxidative damage and inflammation.
  • Almonds also top all other nuts in calcium content, one of the reasons (besides it's creamy deliciousness) that I love homemade almond milk so much!
  • Some people still avoid almonds because of their fat content, but study after study have shown them to be beneficial for weight management. And not that I recommend calorie counting, but recent studies with more accurate methods of measuring calories, have shown an ounce of almonds contain only 130 calories versus the previous count of 160.
  • With 6 grams of protein in each ounce, a serving of nuts is one of my favorite post-workout snacks.
  • Snacking on crunchy food like almonds can actually help combat stress!

Feel free to mix in your favorite trail mix ingredients. I like using freeze dried fruit, which is less sweet than dried fruit, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Dark chocolate chips never hurt anything. Because these are vegan, you can always skip the whole baking step, roll into balls and enjoy like cookie dough!

Almond Trail Mix Cookies

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup freeze dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix almond milk and chia. Let sit 10 minutes or so to gel.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chia "egg," almond butter, coconut oil, honey and vanilla with an electric beater. In another medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Using electric beater, mix wet ingredients into dry. Stir in oats, blueberries and almonds. Cover dough with saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325.
  4. Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto an oiled baking sheet. Press down lightly with the back of a spoon to flatten. Bake for 16-18 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Multigrain Vegan Blueberry Breakfast Bake

This multigrain vegan blueberry breakfast bake has no refined sugar and takes only 10 minutes hands on time to make. It's a great way to use up the random whole grains you have on hand!

Mornings just ain't my thing. Breakfast however, is absolutely my thing, and one of my favorite things at that. I'm always on the lookout for great recipes for make in advance breakfasts that I can simply heat and eat in the morning. When I stumbled upon this recipe from fANNEtastic Food for a vegan quinoa bake that involves simply dumping ingredients in a casserole dish and baking, I knew I hit gold.

The original recipe calls for only quinoa, but I decided to make mine multigrain by using a few different types of whole grains. It adds a interesting texture and helps use up the random bits of leftover grains you might have from buying in bulk. I think you could use basically any intact whole grain that normally cooks in about 15-20 minutes in varying proportions. I used a mixture of quinoa, barley flakes (which are like oats) and kasha because that's what I had, but you could also swap in amaranth, buckwheat groats, freekeh, kaniwa, millet, oats or teff. There's a whole world of whole grains out there and this is the perfect recipe to experiment with them in!

Instead of using apples, I decided to use wild blueberries, one of my favorite brain boosting foods. Last week, I taught a class of elementary age kids at a local private school about how to "eat the rainbow." We talked about the health benefits of the different colors of produce and how blue/purple foods boost brain health and memory. One of the teachers emailed me this week and said a student stopped them in the hallway and said "I ate blue today. I bet my brain is smarter!" Y'all, that cracked me up and seriously made my day!

And you know what, his brain probably is smarter! Blue/purple foods, like blueberries, are a rich source of anthocyanins, a purple pigmented phytochemical in the flavonoid family. Anthocyanins improve memory and prevent age related decline in cognitive function by decreasing inflammation and improving blood flow in the brain. Deep purple wild blueberries, which are available frozen in most grocery stores, are even richer in anthocyanins than conventionally grown, which already pack a hefty dose.

I served this with leftover cashew cream from my paleo pumpkin pancakes, but feel free to use a scoop of plain Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. This is also great topped with a sprinkle of toasted nuts or served cold with almond or coconut milk.

Vegan Multigrain Blueberry Breakfast Bake

8 servings

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover whole grains. Feel free to use any type that cooks in about 15-20 minutes - teff, amaranth, buckwheat groats, and millet would all work well. Serve warm with Greek yogurt, cashew creme and a drizzle of honey or cold with unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Adapted from fANNEtastic Food

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup barley flakes or rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup kasha or bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, preferably wild
  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk or organic milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, barley flakes, kasha, coconut oil, chia, hemp, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Add in blueberries and toss to combine. Stir in milk.
  3. Pour into an oiled baking dish. I used a large cast iron skillet but you could use a rectangular baking dish. Dust the top with more cinnamon. Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes until liquid is absorbed and top is golden.

You might also like:

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cashew Creme
Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cashew Creme
Toasted Coconut Oatmeal with Wild Blueberry Chia Jam
Toasted Coconut Oatmeal with Wild Blueberry Chia Jam
Baked Oatmeal with Raspberries and Bananas
Baked Oatmeal with Raspberries and Bananas

Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

I do love my overnight oats, but come winter, I want something warm and cozy. I love the idea of oatmeal, but most recipes I've tried never live up to my expectations.

So, I set out on a mission to perfect oatmeal. I set 3 goals:

1. Tastes great, even without tons of added sugar 2. Refrigerates well, because goodness knows I love the snooze button more than a warm bowl of oats. This recipe would have to be batch cooking friendly. 3. Filling enough to last till my mid-morning snack, and even until lunch for those hectic days I miss snacktime.

And what would you know, I found the perfect recipe on my first try! Toot toot (<---that's me tooting my own horn).

The trick for perfect oatmeal is quite simple - toast the oats before cooking. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor. The oats get a chewy texture that holds up to refrigeration overnight and prevents it from becoming a solid mass of bleh. Plus, toasting oats makes your kitchen smell just short of Heaven.

Another crucial upgrade - I cooked the oats in coconut milk instead of my usual unsweetened almond milk. It adds a lovely flavor and the higher fat content coats the oats and helps keep creamy, even after refrigeration.

To sweeten my oats without added sugar, I used the natural sugars in fruit. I've used a mashed banana in my oats before, which tasted great, but it doesn't refrigerate well. I often use all-fruit jam to sweeten my oats, so I decided to play on that and create my own chia seed jam. Last year, I fell in love with the concentrated flavor and super-dense nutrition of wild blueberries during our Recipe Redux contest, so I figured that would be a natural choice.

Four days in, I'm still gobbling this up and loving every bite! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Do you have any tricks for making oatmeal taste great? Leave your favorite oatmeal hacks in the comments below!

Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (low fat or full fat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Chia jam:

  • 3 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk for drizzling
  • Honey or pure maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. First, make the jam. Place blueberries, lemon and water in a small pot on medium heat. After a few minutes, the liquids will release. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, mashing the berries with a potato masher as they cook. Turn off heat, stir in chia seeds and let sit 10 minutes until thickened.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add oats. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often, until they smell toasty. Add coconut milk and enough water to make a total of 6 cups of liquid along with the vanilla extract and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stop cooking while the oats still have a bit of liquid, since it will soak in a bit in the fridge.
  3. While the oats are cooking, toast the almonds. I usually place them on a small baking sheet in the toaster oven.
  4. To serve, drizzle the oatmeal with a little almond milk or coconut milk and a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup if using. Swirl in chia jam and top with almonds.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

Everything but the kitchen sink cookies are loaded with crunchy almonds, dark chocolate, toasted coconut and oats! Gluten free, vegan and made with whole grains! Plus, you can make them in a food processor, so you don’t have to dirty a ton of bowls!

Read More